Thursday, February 27, 2014

MDS Blog Hop - Using MDS to Build a Website

Hello and happy MDS blog hop day!
This week we're showing what we've been working on with MDS and this week is a pretty big one for me.

Back in the day (well, about 10 years ago anyway) I used to design websites as my day job. Hand designed and coded them. And even though my disease forced me to move on to another profession where I don't have to use my hands as much, I haven't forgotten how to do it and I still love to play around with creating them.

I needed a new design for my author website. I have a new book finished and my old website was very much about my old book. Which meant - time to freshen it up! The last site I designed in Photoshop, but this one I wanted to create with MDS. I write books for middle-grade readers (grades 4-8) so I wanted it to be a fun looking site and knew I could do that with My Digital Studio.

I started with an empty 12"x12" canvas and for the first page just did my black background with the Vintage Overlays set for the very light chalkboard scratches. Just change it to white and put the opacity down to about 5%. I exported that image out at the web size .jpg and sent it to my server to use as the background image. That way if the visitor to my site was using a big monitor and my homepage image wasn't big enough to fill the space it will fill the background with this background image to make the page look seamless.

Next I inserted another identical page (I LOVE that you can do this in MDS!) and used that already created background to build my home page on. I used a bunch of different fonts and some fun elements like the notebook paper (with torn edges) and some stamped doodles. Once I was done I exported it to a .jpg at the web size and sent it over to my website's server. Once it was there I used a free image map site ( to map out all of my links in HTML, added the code to my .html file and sent that to the server too. Home page done. Yep, it really was that easy.

Next I created another identical page and kept a lot of the elements from my home page design for the header on the rest of the pages on the website. Here's a hint - while having a completely graphic website may LOOK great, search engines won't know what keywords to look for when they are adding your website to their searches. Why? Because the text in images can't be read by computers. Text has to be coded into the document for it to be read correctly. So for the header I just really moved some things around and then exported that for web the same as I did the other pages. I made an image map for the links like I did with the home page.

Finally, I wanted to create a header for my Facebook author page so I duplicated the website header, took out the links, added the ribbon back and straightened the picture frame. Exported it as web and added it to Facebook. I love that everything has such a cohesive look now!

Thank you so much for stopping by the blog today and I hope you continue hopping to the next blog, Jeanna's by using the 'next' button below. I'm sure she has something fabulous to share with you today!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

MDS Blog Hop - Valentines!

Happy Thursday and thanks for following the MDS Blog Hop from Elizabeth's blog!

As you may already know, today we were challenged to create something having to do with Valentines or love, etc. I *love* these photos I took last weekend of my girls and their friend, so I knew I had to use them this week.

I don't know if you feel the same way, but sometimes I just want to create a page without re-inventing the wheel. Sometimes a completely blank 12x12 page is SO INTIMIDATING! For today I decided to try a template and I'm so happy I did because I love how it turned out.

I started with the A Split Second designer series templates and used the first page. Then I added some sequins, some rhinestones and some stitching and a whole lot of fun elements from one of my favorite kits - the Hello There kit.

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog today! Now it's time to turn you over to Jeanna who is sure to have something amazing to show you, just click the "Next" button below!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Make Your Own Photo Booth with MDS!

Last night the school I teach at held a Valentine's dance fundraiser and I was asked to take photos. In the past I've seen some really cute photo booths with super-cute props, so I opened up My Digital Studio and went to work.

The best thing is that I hardly had to recreate anything. Most of the shapes and sentiments I used on my props were already stamps! I just had to put them together.

I put everything on a 8x10 sheet and sent it to my photo printer to be printed at a 12" x 16" size. It was perfect. Here is how the sheet of props looked when I had finished.

I wanted them to really stand out so I used white images on a black background. Once I picked them up from the 1-hour print place (got these done at Sams!) I mounted them onto cardstock and trimmed around them so they wouldn't be so flimsy. If I would've done them more in advance I would have just had them printed through the MDS Print Service on their heavy cardstock. The ones I printed at Sams curled a little as the night went on so next time I do this I will order them to be printed on the heavy cardstock for sure.

Each thing on this sheet is already a stamp I had in MDS, the only fonts I used were the the "I {heart}" arrows. For the "We Seriously Rock" stamp I knew I wanted to do a double speech bubble which I couldn't find in my MDS downloads so I just printed it out without it and cut the shape I wanted around it. Worked great.

I found some dowel rods at the craft store, painted them gray so they wouldn't stand out too much when people held them, then mounted my cut out shapes to them.

thanks to my friend Christa for helping me show how great they looked in the photos!

Monday, February 3, 2014

My MDS Bowl Projects

If you missed the MDS Bowl last night, I thought I'd share my projects.

For the first quarter we were challenged to either use Bronco or Seahawk colors on a project. I chose the Seahawks and made this using one of my favorite sayings I had pinned. I used Night of Navy, Green Galore and Smokey Slate.

I used a variety of fonts, and for the background I used two background stamps - Friend by Definition and Distressed Dots. I made them both white, then bumped the opacity on them down to about 10%. I was too chicken to try using the Bronco's colors, but a few of the other participants did and they looked fabulous!

The second quarter challenge was to make a sports project. I don't have any football photos, but I have plenty of soccer photos from this fall, so that's what I used.

For this 12" x 12" scrapbook page I used the Epic Overlays stamp brush set. I've loved this set for as long as I can remember, but don't use it much since most of my projects tend to be more fancy than fun. But this page needed to be fun!

I love the "word" bubble and the arrow that points to her medal. It doesn't get much more fun than this. The "soccer" title is a font with the red glimmer paper underneath. It shows through the letters great and adds a little bit of girly glitter to the page without making it too sparkly.

I made another card for the third challenge, but will save it for another day!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

MDS Bowl I

Don't want to watch the Super Bowl? We don't blame you! We'd rather create in My Digital Studio!

Join Jeanna Bohanon and I for a fun night of inspiring projects, tips, techniques, challenges, and MDS prizes!

Find all of the fun on the first MDS Bowl Facebook event page!

Hope to see you there and can't wait to see what you create!